Desi pubs to community hubs, revamping failing boozers in Birmingham

Monday 02nd September 2019 13:58 EDT

Recently, some British Asians in the midlands have been transforming the previously struggling boozers as community hubs by serving beer and curry.

Thirty years ago, most racist jibes were about curry but the curries served up in old boozers are now bringing people together in a positive way - rather than be used as a negative marker to highlight racial differences.

Bera is the landlord of The Red Cow pub and Grill in Smethwick, a town where decades ago, American civil rights activist Malcolm X witnessed first hand segregation in bars and pubs. Back then the old British boozer would not be such a welcoming place for the Black and Asian community but now things have changed.

"I think most racism comes from ignorance more than anything, Asians can be racist - we have stereotypes of other communities too.

"Desi means traditional and authentic to the homeland, the Punjab and that is what the food we serve here is all about. Most people, whether they are white, black, Asian enjoy a nice beer and with Indian food it's even better," said Bera Mahli, owner of The Red Cow to Birmingham Live.

Bera and his brother Gamy Hayre took over The Red Cow in 2010. They transformed it from a rundown drinking hole, returning it to former glory as a local landmark. Earlier pubs in the Indian community were just for men only. These days as they are no longer places just to drink, and Asian girls, aunties and grandmas can also be seen at such places.

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